Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s...
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By the end of the 1930s, Longines had many steel-case watches designed specifically for pilots in its product line.
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Longines Wristwatches:
Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals, like a stopwatch.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
Escapement: A device that converts the pressure of a spring or coil into a fixed release of movement.
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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the Longines dinner on the Orient Express TrainPINKVILLA, June 19th
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the Longines dinner on the Orient Express Train. Wed, 2013-06-19 07:53 — Bipasha-Fan. Share this on. Facebook · Twitter. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the Longines dinner on the Orient Express Train. Movies. News. Star Kids...Read more
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at Longines Malaysia opening: What's the secret ...Bollywood Life, June 18th
Yesterday, the actor made a stunning appearance at Kuala Lumpur for the Longines showroom opening. Ash has been the watchmaker's ambassador for a decade now and her latest ad was for the 2013 Prix de Diane Longines race event held in Chantilly, ...Read more
Longines Luxury, French Fashion, a Royal Museum and Animal Kingdom: You ...Practical Horseman Magazine (blog), June 17th
And if you are a fan of horse racing or equestrian sports on television, you've noticed the advertisements, all cast in a dreamy blue glow, and you now know the word “Longines” is connected to luxury even if you have never held one to your wrist–or...Read more
Aishwarya's new ad for Longines Royal AscotPINKVILLA, June 17th
Aishwarya's new ad for Longines Royal Ascot. Sun, 2013-06-16 15:40 — Abhi_Ash4eva. Share this on. Facebook · Twitter. Aishwarya's new ad for Longines Royal Ascot. Movies. News. Star Kids. No Makeup. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in an ad for ...Read more
Aishwarya Rai Is Pretty In Lime Green At Longines Event (PHOTOS)Huffington Post Canada, June 17th
Ash, who has been a longtime spokeswoman for the Swiss watch brand (see her posing with a horse on the Longines website), posed with her fans and gave interviews to the media. Of course, no former Miss World is satisfied with just one outfit!...Read more
Press Release Longines Ladies Awards 2013DigitalJournal.com, June 16th
CHANTILLY, France and SAINT-IMIER, Switzerland, June 16, 2013 /CNW/ - The very first Longines Ladies Awards ceremony took place on Saturday evening, on the eve of the Prix de Diane Longines, in the beautiful surroundings of the castle of Chantilly...Read more
Longines Ladies Awards 2013PR Newswire (press release), June 16th
The very first Longines Ladies Awards ceremony took place on Saturday evening, on the eve of the Prix de Diane Longines, in the beautiful surroundings of the castle of Chantilly. A jury, chaired by Simon Baker, Longines Ambassador of Elegance and ...Read more
Aishwarya Rai wows Kuala Lumpur at Longines eventApun Ka Choice, June 15th
Strobe lights is something Ash has always been comfy with and she spread her charm in Kuala Lumpur as well, in keeping with the Longines motto: “Elegance is an attitude”. Watch more images of Aishwarya Rai from the launch of Longines boutique in Kuala ...Read more